The heat acclimation period for high school football in Tennessee opens today. For the next week teams can practice in shoulder pads and helmets in preparation for next week, when practice in full pads can begin.
With four weeks until Week Zero opens and the season begins, here’s three tidbits to help the anxious keep cool until the fun begins.
CAROUSEL: Greenback and William Blount have changed coaches at the same time again, though this time one’s change did not prompt the other. Philip Shadowens will be at the helm for WB when the Governors open the season Aug. 21 at Lenoir City. The former skipper at Smyrna and Blackman gets a tough first game on Mike White Field as the Govs renew their series with Alcoa in Week 1.
Brent Kilpatrick and Greg Ryan are back on the field at Greenback as interim coaches after the late resignation of Dustin Lyles last week. Lyles was announced as the replacement for Jason Hicks earlier in the year, but resigned Tuesday. The pair rebuilt the Cherokees into a playoff contender over three seasons before stepping away after the 2008 season. They’ll get a rivalry game of their own to start the season, hosting Loudon.
UPGRADE: It turns out coach Matt Lowe was serious about upgrading the schedule at The King’s Academy.
The Lions enter their third season of TSSAA play with a bit bigger handful than a year ago when they set a school record for wins in a season (8), missed the playoffs by one game and instead played in the CAREacter Star Bowl. The Division 2-A school has a season opener across the road at 5A Seymour and added bowl opponent Lenoir City. Boyd Buchanan is the first home game and the Lions will host Lancaster Christian, a non-TSSAA school from the Midstate but one with lots of hardware and one that gave Alcoa fits for a first half two years ago. They replace Jellico, Hancock County, Sunbright and Union County.
WINNERS AND LOSERS: The leaves will be changing colors before we have a firm idea on who the biggest winners and losers are with redistricting, but the early look says Heritage gets the bump of a slightly less competitive district losing Maryville, Farragut and Hardin Valley from its new regional slate. That’s three losses by an average of four touchdowns off the schedule with the unknown of Powell, Gibbs and Halls to measure against this time.
It will be interesting to see how much a difference it will make to Seymour to trade the Morristowns and Jefferson County for all the directional Sullivans and Greeneville.
Just what the impact might be on defending 6A champ Maryville is speculation except in terms of travel expenses.
Loudon is back in a region with Alcoa and on Sept. 4 that old rivalry will be revisited at Goddard Field after a two-year hiatus following the approval of a Redskins’ request to jump out of the old District 4-AA and join league with Polk County and Sequoyah. If not for Fulton, a previously unbeaten Loudon squad makes the Class 4A title game last December, indicating this series with Alcoa may be returning to its heyday.